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 How a Super Capacitor Works

 

 

Supercapacitors (also known as ultracapacitors) store electricity by physically separating positive and negative charges—unlike batteries which do so chemically. The charge they hold is like the static electricity that can build up on a balloon, but is much greater thanks to the extremely high surface area of their interior materials.Supercapacitor

Super capacitors are very good at efficiently capturing electricity from regenerative braking, and can deliver power for acceleration just as quickly. With no moving parts, they also have a very long lifespan—probably longer than any car.

A super capacitor is also known as a double-layer capacitor. It polarizes an electrolytic solution to store energy electro statically. Though it is an electrochemical device, no chemical reactions are involved in its energy storage mechanism. This mechanism is highly reversible, and allows the ultra capacitor to be charged and discharged hundreds of thousands of times.

A super capacitor can be viewed as two non reactive porous plates, or collectors, suspended within an electrolyte, with a voltage potential applied across the collectors. In an individual supercapacitor cell, the applied potential on the positive electrode attracts the negative ions in the electrolyte, while the potential on the negative electrode attracts the positive ions. A dielectric separator between the two electrodes prevents the charge from moving between the two electrodes. Diagram 2 depicts an supercapacitor, its modules, and an supercapacitor cell.

Once the supercapacitor is charged and energy stored, a load (the vehicle's motor) can use this energy. The amount of energy stored is very large compared to a standard capacitor because of the enormous surface area created by the porous carbon electrodes and the small charge separation (10 angstroms) created by the dielectric separator. However, it stores a much smaller amount of energy than does a battery. Since the rates of charge and discharge are determined solely by its physical properties, the ultracapacitor can release energy much faster (with more power) than a battery that relies on slow chemical reactions.

Maxwell BoostCap SuperCapacitor  

Maxwell Technologies BoostCap